The Daimler mobility concept, that was launched at the end of March in Ulm with 200 smart fortwo cdis for the public, has started very successfully.

A good three months after the public pilot phase started, on Wednesday, July 8th the 10,000th car2go customer was welcomed in the car2go shop. This means that more than 10 percent of all holders of a driver’s license in Ulm have already registered with car2go. Due to the great success and the high level of interest, expansion of the area of operation is being prepared to the neighboring town of Neu-Ulm.

“We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the success of our pilot project to date”, says Daimler car2go Project Manager Robert Henrich. “The number of customers who have registered so far, the utilization of the vehicles and the positive response have exceeded all our expectations.” Right from the start there was a huge stream of customers who wanted to affix the car2go seal on their driver’s license, sometimes leading to queues at the car2go shop at the Stadthaus in Ulm in the first weeks. This seal on the driver’s license is used to unlock and rent vehicles not in use that are distributed all over the city. In addition to being able to rent a vehicle spontaneously, special features of car2go are that customers can rent the car for as long as they want and leave it at any free parking space within the operating area at the end of the rental period. In areas with managed parking facilities special car2go parking spaces have been rented where cars can also be left at the end of the rental period.

Since the end of March the cars have been rented more than 50,000 times in this way with the rental period ranging from a few minutes to several days. The majority of rentals were spontaneous (approx. 85 percent) with far fewer users making use of the option to reserve a vehicle up to 24 hours in advance. Especially in the early days of the project the intensive use occasionally led to a shortage of vehicles in Ulm city centre with cars sometimes passing straight from one customer to the next and up to 15 rentals per day! A positive finding is that customers generally treat the vehicles very carefully. However, should a vehicle become dirty this is automatically reported to the service team who clean it without delay.

“With the exception of a few teething troubles that are unavoidable for a pilot project of this size, we have not had any major problems”, Robert Henrich is pleased to report. Technical features are being continually optimized to further improve the system, for example to increase the speed of data transfer between the vehicle and the central computer.

Due to numerous customer requests there are plans to extend the operating area, which has been limited to Ulm so far, to the closely linked neighboring Bavarian town of Neu-Ulm. Talks with those responsible have already started. This is an intermediate step before car2go goes international with a second pilot project that will be launched in the Texan capital of Austin at the end of this year.

Source: Daimler AG